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2004 Player Statistics and Analysis: Wide Receivers
Updated: August 27, 2004
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Eric Parker SD HT 6'0'' WT 177 AGE 25 EXP 3
2002 SD 7 17 268 15.8 1      
2003 SD 7 18 244 13.6 3 3 21 0
  Avg 7 18 256 14.6 2 2 11 0
With three touchdowns in the first five games, Parker was a immediate free agent pick in every league last season. Unfortunately, it was more like his fifteen minutes of fame. He suffered a dislocated shoulder in week eight and was inactive the rest of the season. Parker was never drafted due in part to an injury-marred career at Tennessee and was waived once in 2002 before being re-signed. He was the primary punt returner for the Chargers before his shoulder problem and has the build for special teams. He signed a one-year contract with the Chargers this season, so the commitment is not there by the team but he will continue to provide special teams work and still could figure into the passing rotation but his injury history and lack of use prevents him from being worthy of a fantasy draft.
Jerome Pathon NO HT 6'0'' WT 186 AGE 29 EXP 7
2001 IND 4 24 330 13.8 2 1 -8 0
2002 NO 14 43 523 12.2 4      
2003 NO 16 44 578 13.1 4      
  Avg 11 37 477 12.9 3 1 -4 0
Pathon’s arrival in New Orleans in 2002 has produced near exact results for two seasons – around 550 yards and four scores. His bread and butter has primarily been filling in for Donte Stallworth when he is injured and so far, that has been a fairly busy job. Pathon replaced Stallworth as the #2 during last season but after week three he never had more than 65 yards in any game. During mini-camps, Stallworth was used with the first team across from Joe Horn and that signals that yet again Pathon will once again provide #3 receiver work and will likely not has quite as a lucrative job in fantasy terms. The Saints acquired Germane Crowell this year after wanting him since 2002 and are encouraged with the early returns on his work. They also drafted the speedster Devery Henderson with their 2.18 pick. Henderson and Crowell will almost certainly erode Pathon’s numbers this year. Crowell is on track to be a back-up receiver and Henderson’s 4.4/40 speed and big play ability will see at least limited slot work. Horn and Stallworth remain the two best receivers for the Saints, but with added depth in 2003, the #3 on the team is less clear and will evolve both before and during the season.
Todd Pinkston PHI HT 6'2'' WT 170 AGE 27 EXP 5
2001 PHI 14 42 586 14 4 1 5 0
2002 PHI 15 60 798 13.3 7 1 -15 0
2003 PHI 16 36 575 16 2 1 -11 0
  Avg 15 46 653 14.2 4 1 -7 0
Between James Thrash and Todd Pinkston, evidently Pinkston won the coin flip in Andy Reid’s office. Pinkston remains an Eagle in 2004 in spite of his minimal production last season. Todd turned in his worst season since his 2000 rookie year and only scored twice the entire season. His lowest point was against Dallas when he had nine passes and never caught one. He finally turned in one 121 yards game in week 16 against a 49er team that was just biding their time until they could fire most of their starters. Pinkston has always been too light to work through jams at the line and only three times last season did he manage to catch even half the passes thrown to him. He could experience a slight renaissance with Owens on board if it means the secondary follows TO and allows Todd to run the sideline deep. That is his main strength. Pinkston’s fantasy value is slightly higher because of the potential effect Owens may bring, but his past history does not indicate that he will produce as much as most of the #2 wideouts in the league.
Jerry Porter OAK HT 6'2'' WT 220 AGE 26 EXP 5
2001 OAK 15 19 220 11.6 0 2 13 0
2002 OAK 16 51 688 13.5 9 4 6 0
2003 OAK 9 28 361 12.9 1 1 10 0
  Avg 13 33 423 12.7 3 2 10 0

Porter came off a very impressive 2002 season with nine touchdowns spread out over eight different games. His expected yardage breakout never happened due to an abdominal strain that was later diagnosed as a hernia that required surgery. Even in the eight games that he played, Porter was never really completely healthy. He wrapped up the year with a strained right calf. This season he faces a new head coach, coordinator and offensive scheme to learn. With the aged nature of Brown and Rice, Porter is the only receiver that will be around for year #2 of Turner’s reign in Oakland and will be the only receiver that does not qualify for AARP. Look for Porter to pick-up where he left off in 2004 and provide the best numbers from a Raider wide-out this season. The offense will be rebuilding and without a formidable running game, they will need to throw the ball. That benefits Porter almost exclusively.

Update 8/4/04: The departure of Tim Brown should result in at least a few more passes Porter's way, though nothing dramatic.

Peerless Price ATL HT 5'11'' WT 190 AGE 28 EXP 6
2001 BUF 16 55 895 16.3 7 6 97 0
2002 BUF 16 94 1252 13.3 9 3 -13 0
2003 ATL 16 64 838 13.1 3 2 3 0
  Avg 16 71 995 14 6 4 29 0
When Price came off his career-best 1252 yards of 2002, he went to the Falcons with high expectations and his first shot at being the #1 receiver for a team. In the end, he only managed a single 100 yard effort and scored only three times. Price is a little under-sized for a possession role and the non-Vick quarterbacks rarely managed chemistry with the speedster last year. When Vick returned, Price averaged almost four catches a game but never did better than 76 yards in any game. To his credit, Vick was rusty in his return and the final games included several top defenses. Historically, Price’s main value is on deep patterns where he can use his speed and with Moulds drawing attention in BUF, he scored nine times and had 94 catches. When he took the primary role in ATL, his production took a predictable dip. This season Price again has to learn a new offense but with a healthy Vick and a reasonably soft schedule, his numbers will improve from last season. He’ll have the speed role against the possession role of Brian Finneran/Michael Jenkins, but with receivers the scores more often go to the faster players. Vick’s arm is plenty strong enough to find Price deep, so look for a nice bump in touchdowns and yardage for Price though with lesser consistency of a true possession receiver.
Ricky Proehl CAR HT 6'0'' WT 190 AGE 36 EXP 15
2001 STL 14 40 563 14.1 5 1 5 0
2002 STL 15 43 466 10.8 4 1 -1 0
2003 CAR 14 27 389 14.4 4      
  Avg 14 37 473 12.9 4 1 2 0
One of the elder statesmen for wideouts in the league, Proehl contemplated retirement this season before being lured back by the Panthers who went ahead and paid him a $250k roster bonus back in April. Proehl’s stats have been on the decline for years and his last relevant fantasy season was back in 1997. Still he did catch four scores last season but he rarely has more than two passes a game and that may be even less this season with the rookie Keary Colbert and last year’s practice surprise of Walter Young. He’s too inconsistent to ever rely on for a fantasy team and only is worth a flyer in the deepest of leagues.
Antwaan Randle El PIT HT 5'10'' WT 184 AGE 25 EXP 3
2002 PIT 16 47 489 10.4 2 19 134 0
2003 PIT 16 37 364 9.8 1 14 85 0
  Avg 16 42 427 10.2 2 17 110 0
Randle El enters his third season but so far the ex-quarterback has not given many signs that a break-out season is forthcoming. He backs up the durable Hines Wards and plays the slot most often but has not displayed much deep ball ability nor running after the catch as evidenced by his 9.8 yard reception average. If Burress does leave this season or next, Randle El would have to change positions to fill in since Burress is a split end and already has Lee Mays entrenched as his back-up. Randle El is an ex-quarterback like Hines Ward, but at 5’ 10” and 184 pounds, he is much smaller than most than the typical split end is and the flanker Ward is not likely to change as the lone stud receiver for the Steelers. Ward is average at 6’ 0” and 200 pounds. Randle El never gained more than 48 yards last season and had ten games below 20 yards. The notion that year three will bring him magic is unlikely.
Josh Reed BUF HT 5'10'' WT 206 AGE 24 EXP 3
2002 BUF 16 37 514 13.9 2      
2003 BUF 16 58 588 10.1 2 3 38 0
  Avg 16 48 551 11.6 2 2 19 0
Reed entered 2003 as the #2 receiver but did little to justify the role. When Eric Moulds was out of the lineup last year, Reed did manage his lone 100 yard effort and scored one of his only two touchdowns but otherwise he was a disappointment and often was swapped out for Bobby Shaw. He Was considered more effective as a #3 receiver in 2002. The Bills spent first round pick on Lee Evans this season for a reason. Reed ended last year with a 40 yard effort against the Patriots and did not have a catch in the two games prior to that. Reed enters his third season but there is little optimism that he will suddenly turn it up this season. Look for Reed’s playing time to be affected more by Lee Evans, particularly as the season progresses. A good indicator of his non-progress was that his numbers stayed relatively the same during his first two years even though his role changed and he caught 21 more passes.
Jerry Rice OAK HT 6'2'' WT 196 AGE 42 EXP 19
2001 OAK 16 83 1139 13.7 9      
2002 OAK 16 92 1211 13.2 7 3 20 0
2003 OAK 16 63 861 13.7 2      
  Avg 16 79 1070 13.5 6 2 10 0
Rice had a brief renaissance to his career when he drove across the bay to Oakland in 2001 but he has declined both years since. In 2003 he was understandably hampered by relying on Rick Mirer at the help but his average yards per catch held about even. He just had a harder time catching the passes. It was not all his fault. The reality is that Rice turns an amazing 42 years old this season and could be older than the fathers of some rookies. He finally fell below 1000 yards as a Raider and his role of being the king of wideouts will now have to live on with old trading cards and autographed footballs. His skills have naturally eroded and his once-sure hands are betraying him. Rice will be a starter and worth a pick very deep in a draft but only because he will be thrown enough passes to contribute something each game. His yardage will continue to decrease and his touchdowns are already on the verge of disappearing.
Koren Robinson SEA HT 6'1'' WT 214 AGE 24 EXP 4
2001 SEA 15 39 536 13.7 1 4 13 0
2002 SEA 16 78 1240 15.9 5 8 56 0
2003 SEA 15 65 896 13.8 4 4 15 0
  Avg 15 61 891 14.7 3 5 28 0
With 896 yards and four scores, Robinson turned in a better than average year for a wideout but 2003 was considered a big disappointment against expectations for the third-year receiver. In week two he was suspended from the Arizona game for disciplinary reasons and a few weeks later had a hamstring strain. He later had a bruised hip and a sprained ankle but managed to play through the injuries. He only turned in one game over 100 yards but had at least three catches every week but one. He was bothered by nagging injuries during the season which depressed his numbers. He still offered at least 50 yards or more in most his games but fell short of the fantasy value of his potential. This off-season, Robinson has been hard at work on conditioning and has gained six pounds of muscle from his playing weight of 2003. He will continue to contend with Jackson for passes but as a healthy player that underwent some needed growing pains last year, Robinson has definite upside in the Seattle offense and could resume his hot streak from 2002. His lull last season is a concern and added risk factor but it is encouraging that he is attending to his conditioning more to minimize the injuries that were too common in 2003.
Marcus Robinson MIN HT 6'3'' WT 215 AGE 29 EXP 7
2001 CHI 4 23 269 11.7 2      
2002 CHI 2 21 244 11.6 3      
2003 BAL 15 31 451 14.5 6      
  Avg 10 27 360 13.3 4      

Robinson rose from relative obscurity with his four touchdown, 131 yard effort in week 12 last season. His 1999 breakout season (1400/9 TDs) was followed up by missing five games injured in 2000 and then in 2001 he suffered torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee which put him on injured reserve. He played sparingly in 2002 as he recovered and was shipped to the Ravens in 2003. Robinson was more than the one big week; he scored in both of the next games and ended the regular season with 102 yards against the Steelers. He will be the next attempt to rekindle Cris Carter and has moved far enough away from this bad knee injury of 2001 that his health is complete. It is noteworthy too that Robinson was rarely used by either the Bears or Ravens and catching passes from Culpepper alongside Randy Moss will be quite the upgrade from Anthony Wright and Travis Taylor. Robinson signed a four-year deal worth $9.4 million, so his acquisition is more than a one year “look and see”. The coaching staff is particularly excited about his 6’3” height in traffic and in the endzone, much taller than all other receivers except Moss.

Update 8/12/04: Robinson has not yet distinguished himself at the clear #2 reciever and is being battled by Nate Burleson who has looked more the part.

08/27/04 - Robinson is now the #3 receiver and is recovering from his lingering hamstring problem. HC Mike Tice said Robinson will remain the #3 regardless of his health.

Charles Rogers DET HT 6'2'' WT 202 AGE 23 EXP 2
2003 DET 5 22 243 11.0 3 2 17 0
  Avg 5 22 243 11.0 3 2 17 0
Rogers only played for five weeks before suffering a broken collarbone and being placed on injured reserve for the rest of the 2003 season. He effectively restarts his rookie season again this year after only catching about four passes a game in his shortened freshman year. The jury is still out on how explosive and fast Rogers can be in the NFL and the concern that he will have problems with jams from cornerbacks did not have enough time to prove untrue last season. Rogers faced three relative easier match-ups before leaving last year and he only average around 55 yards a game. He will have better help with Roy Williams on the other side and an upgraded rushing game to concern defenses. Rogers was electrifying in college and sports a 4.3 speed, so his upside is big this year. Rogers also was subjected to the learning curve that the Lions went through last season when HC Mariucci installed a new offense and in the second season of the scheme, the results should be much better. Rogers has been strictly “hands-off” for the Lion defenders in mini-camp but is slated to resume contact in training camp.
Bobby Shaw BUF HT 6'0'' WT 183 AGE 29 EXP 6
2001 PIT 12 24 409 17 2      
2002 JAX 16 44 525 11.9 1      
2003 BUF 15 56 732 13.1 4      
  Avg 14 41 555 13.4 2      
Shaw went to his third team in three years in 2004 and the results were good – he had his career best season. Problem is that only meant 732 yards and four scores after playing for five years. Shaw is relatively light at only 180 pounds and not particularly fast but he has a great feel for the game and compensates for his shortcomings. He makes a great #3 receiver which is likely all he will ever be. Last season he had several opportunities as the #2 receiver and while he played well enough, that rarely meant production over 70 yards. With Lee Evans drafted, Shaw’s numbers will likely take a turn down as he shares time but will remain as worthwhile receiver depth for your fantasy team.
Jimmy Smith JAX HT 6'1'' WT 205 AGE 35 EXP 11
2001 JAX 16 112 1373 12.3 8 1 -3 0
2002 JAX 16 80 1027 12.8 7 1 2 0
2003 JAX 12 54 805 14.9 4      
  Avg 15 82 1068 13 6 1 -1 0
Smith got a late start to his 10 th season thanks to a drug suspension but he meshed with new quarterback Byron Leftwich immediately. He turned in two games over 130 yards and exceeded 60 yards in a game eight times. His numbers dropped off in the final two games but the pace would have produced his 8 th consecutive 1000 yard season as a Jaguar. This season Smith is looking faster in mini-camps since he is 20 pounds lighter than this time last season. The weight loss is thanks to a tough off-season conditioning program and will help him regain speed lost at the heavier mark. The Jaguars offense was basically only Taylor rushing and Smith receiving last season as no suitable #2 receiver emerged. The Jaguars picked up Kevin Johnson who was waived by the Browns and he helped for the final five games but he was sent off to the Ravens in exchange for a fourth round pick. Smith now will be paired up with the rookie Reggie Williams who was acquired with the 9 th overall pick in the draft. A playmaker with both height and speed, Williams will develop into the complement that Smith needs.
Rod Smith DEN HT 6'0'' WT 200 AGE 34 EXP 10
2001 DEN 15 113 1343 11.9 11 3 27 0
2002 DEN 16 89 1027 11.5 5 6 9 0
2003 DEN 15 74 846 11.4 3 10 98 0
  Avg 15 92 1072 11.7 6 6 45 0
Smith has been on a decline for the past three years in yardage, scores and yards per catch. His career best 2000 (1602 yards) came at the age of 30 and now four years later Smith may have all same knowledge and skill but it is limited by the lost step. He only turned in one 100 yard game last season but contributed enough weekly to remain a viable fantasy starter – just not a difference maker. This season Smith renews his relationship with Plummer and has less apparent competing hands for the ball with the loss of Sharpe, Portis and McCaffrey. Were this four years ago it would be almost a lock for a big year but as Smith slows down, so goes his numbers. He’ll remain a favorite target for Plummer unless understudy Ashley Lelie justifies expectations this season. In either case, Smith will fall into a more possession role with less of the speed that he once had that made him so dangerous deep.
Steve Smith CAR HT 5'9'' WT 179 AGE 25 EXP 4
2002 CAR 15 54 872 16.1 3 1 -4 0
2003 CAR 16 88 1110 12.6 7 11 42 0
  Avg 16 71 991 14 5 6 19 0
Smith spent 2002 as the surprise player that they never really wanted to use and started 2003 as the #2 wideout largely because of the injury to Kevin Dyson. For the initially five weeks he did little to improve his stock but in week six the fuse finally reached the powder. For the next 11 games he never fell below 50 yards and scored in over half of his games. Smith is an emotional player, which is just another way for saying a talented headcase. When he is not yelling at the front office or beating on teammates, he brings the goods on the field. He had five more passes than all other Panther wideouts combined in 2003. Chances of a repeat are excellent. As the reigning NFC Champs, the Panthers will see more teams playing their “A” game against them and with that, no less need to pass to the only player making a difference downfield.
Donte' Stallworth NO HT 6'0'' WT 200 AGE 24 EXP 3
2002 NO 13 42 594 14.1 8 2 2 0
2003 NO 11 25 485 19.4 3 1 3 0
  Avg 12 34 540 16.1 6 2 3 0
Stallworth was the first receiver taken in the 2002 draft with New Orleans used their 1.10 to grab the Tennessee standout. His first two seasons were inconsistent but showed flashes of what this season could bring. He has been continually hampered by groin, muscle and hamstring injuries his first two years. Stallworth had two 100 yard games in 2003 but did them as the first and last games of the season. His spotty consistency and constant injury dings have allowed Jerome Pathon to be the starting split end but already Stallworth has been taking that role in mini-camps this off-season. He has been the talk of the conditioning program this spring and has worked diligently to increase his strength without sacrificing his sprinter’s speed. His body fat is now less than 8%. Stallworth enters his third season in better shape and has been noted to practice more confidently this off-season. He knows the offense and has shown enough talent to merit being the #2 receiver. This could be Stallworth’s breakout season that fantasy fans have been waiting to see and if his conditioning work pays off, he’ll do more in 2003 and yet possibly be available deeper in fantasy drafts than the past two years.
Brandon Stokley IND HT 5'11'' WT 197 AGE 28 EXP 6
2001 BAL 14 24 344 14.3 2 1 1 0
2002 BAL 8 24 357 14.9 2 6 31 0
2003 IND 6 22 211 9.6 3      
  Avg 9 23 304 13 2 4 16 0
Stokley filled in for the inured Troy Walters last season and scored three times in only four regular season games including twice against Atlanta. Stokley also had 144 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos during the playoffs last season. Stokley is very fast and a good receiver, but has always been prone to injury. He has never started more than five games in a season and only once played in more than eight games. His ability to bring down the deep ball is exciting and frustrating because he has never been around long enough in any season to show what he could do as a full-time receiver. Consider Stokley as a player capable of turning in some very nice games, particularly now that he has Manning throwing the ball but his past history makes him a major risk if a fantasy team intends on relying on him for the long haul.
Tai Streets DET HT 6'2'' WT 206 AGE 27 EXP 5
2002 SF 15 70 733 10.5 5      
2003 SF 16 47 595 12.7 7      
  Avg 16 59 664 11.4 6      
Streets came to the Lions during the great talent purge of the 49ers and reunites with HC Steve Mariucci. He leaves behind the #2 role in San Francisco and now becomes part of a rotation at receiver along with Rogers, Williams and Hakim. Both Rogers and Williams will spend the most time on the field but Streets will figure in during multiple receiver sets and likely take some time away from Hakim in the slot. The Lions like the height advantage that Streets brings but he is a definite #3 receiver and not likely to offer much consistency or value for fantasy teams.
Travis Taylor BAL HT 6'1'' WT 200 AGE 25 EXP 5
2001 BAL 14 42 560 13.3 3 5 46 0
2002 BAL 16 61 869 14.2 6 11 105 0
2003 BAL 16 39 632 16.2 3 11 62 0
  Avg 15 47 687 14.5 4 9 71 0
Taylor had been on a nice progression since entering the league, adding around 300 yards and three more scores to his prior season totals. In 2004, pairing with the rookie Boller while Jamal Lewis ran wild cut deeply into his numbers. With Todd Heap as the leading receiver for the Ravens, Taylor has been hampered by not having another suitable receiver to prevent coverage problems for him. While bringing in Kevin Johnson will help involve the secondary more, the reality is that he will undoubtedly also be a more frequent target for Boller and take away opportunities from Taylor. While the Ravens may need to throw more this season, certainly if Lewis gets injured, the 2002 season will still likely be the ceiling on what he can do in this offense. Taylor makes for a decent #3 fantasy wideout but even within that, one that has very infrequent big games.
David Terrell CHI HT 6'3'' WT 215 AGE 25 EXP 4
2001 CHI 16 34 415 12.2 4      
2002 CHI 5 9 127 14.1 3      
2003 CHI 16 43 361 8.4 1 1 4 0
  Avg 12 29 301 10.5 3 0 1 0

After being the Bears first pick in 2001, Terrell has done little to ever justify his selection or salary. He is noted mainly for being a moody malcontent that is still supremely confident in his abilities even though there is an absence of any NFL proof it exists. Terrell has all the tangibles of a receiver but has increasingly become considered as unable to make the difficult catch or even the occasional easy pass. Terrell was leapfrogged by second-year layer Justin Gage and while he will hang around, there is little reason to pick him up for your fantasy team. After three years, the bus ain’t stopping for him anymore.

08/22/04 - Terrell rises with the departure of Booker and the general inconsistency of both Wade and Gage lately. Terrell has historically been a major bust but he should provide the closest thing to a #1 reciever for the Bears who are assuming the KC-style offense this season that, incidentally, runs fine with mediocre receivers.

Derrius Thompson MIA HT 6'2'' WT 216 AGE 27 EXP 5
2001 WAS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2002 WAS 16 53 773 14.6 4 10 77 0
2003 MIA 16 26 359 13.8 0      
  Avg 16 40 566 14.3 2 10 77 0

Thompson banged around the Redskin’s practice squad before finally getting a shot in 2002 thanks to Steve Spurrier’s desire to leave nothing alone. He responded with an encouraging season of 773 yards and four scores in an offense that passed in order to set up another pass. Knowing the ball was going to be thrown, defenses naturally focused on the more gifted receivers and let Thompson look good in comparison. To his credit, Thompson took the money and ran when offered a spot in the Dolphins offense. That however proved to be bust move by Miami as Thompson never scored and never contributed more than three catches a game. He ended with less than half of his passes resulting in catches. His high point was 65 yards in week seven but that was also his only game over 38 yards receiving. The Dolphins acquired David Boston as the next bust to line up across from Chris Chambers so Thompson will have to battle for playing time in multiple receiver sets or when, inevitably, Boston is injured. Imagine – all that money and the best Spurrier did was to make Thompson appear to be an NFL-quality receiver.

Update: As just mentioned, Boston gets inevitably injured and this season he could not last the first week of camp before blowing out a knee and thrusting Thompson into the #2 role. Don't get too excited here quite yet. Thompson has looked great in camp as he always does (prior to failing during the season) and yet the Dolphins will be cruising the waivers for a free agent receiver to bring into camp. He will definitely figure in this season, but it may not end up as a true #2 if another player is brought in.

08/22/04 - Thompson slides with the trade for Marty Booker.

James Thrash WAS HT 6' 0" WT 200 AGE 29 EXP 8
2001 PHI 15 63 833 13.2 8 6 57 0
2002 PHI 16 52 635 12.2 6 18 126 2
2003 PHI 16 49 558 11.4 1 5 53 0
  Avg 16 55 675 12.4 5 10 79 1
After three years of worsening production and being a part of the worst set of starting wideouts in the league, Thrash returns to the original team of his first four seasons. The best he had in his first stop in Washington was only 653 yards and two touchdowns. Thrash was traded back to the Redskins in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2005 and still has two years left on his contract at roughly $2 million per year. The Washington Redskins re-acquired veteran receiver James Thrash from the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth-round pick in 2005 on Tuesday. Thrash has two years left on his contract - he is due to earn $1.6 million this year and $2 million in 2005. He will compete with McCants for the #3 spot and given his salary, he had better win it in training camp or risk being cut. Thrash has little upside even if he earns the spot and is not worth more than a very deep fantasy roster spot if even that.
Amani Toomer NYG HT 6'3'' WT 202 AGE 30 EXP 9
2001 NYG 16 72 1054 14.6 5 4 -2 0
2002 NYG 16 82 1343 16.4 8 1 2 0
2003 NYG 16 63 1057 16.8 5 1 5 0
  Avg 16 72 1151 15.9 6 2 2 0
Toomer has signed a five-year, $20 million contract that will keep him with New York through the 2008 season. Toomer had three years left on his existing contract. Now that he has hit 30 years of age, a slow down is inevitable but there is no sign it has started yet. He has increased his yards per catch the past three years and been the lone consistent star wideout. The introduction of Shockey to the team had no effect on Toomer’s numbers and last year is no gauge for anyone on the Giants after the crash and burn of the offense starting mid-season. Toomer is 6’3” and a deadly receiver both over the middle and down the sidelines. Both Warner and Manning will naturally focus on him and Toomer’s numbers should not suffer dramatically even if Manning stumbles though the rest of the receivers would likely feel the pinch. Toomer is still in his prime and during the injury rash of 2003, he was healthy and productive in spite of no one else following suit. He carries risk in 2003 with a new scheme and quarterback, and he is getting older but he’ll make an outstanding #2 fantasy receiver with a decent chance at remaining a #1 option.
Bobby Wade CHI HT 5'10'' WT 192 AGE 23 EXP 2
2003 CHI 12 12 137 11.4 0 0 0 0
Wade becomes much more interesting with the trade of Marty Booker to the Dolphins. He has not been particularly consistent in camp but is the first back-up for Booker and as such gets promoted. Wade practiced most of last season on the second team with Rex Grossman but he has not been impressive enough to consider as more than fantasy roster fodder for now.
Javon Walker GB HT 6'3'' WT 210 AGE 26 EXP 3
2002 GB 15 23 319 13.9 1 1 11 0
2003 GB 16 41 716 17.5 9 2 1 0
  Avg 16 41 716 17.5 9 2 1 0
Walker was the #3 receiver when the season opened last year and by the end he was clearly the most valuable wideout on the team. There were only eight receivers in the entire NFL with more touchdowns (9) than Walker scored. While he scored in seven different games, the key is that he scored in four of the final six including a two touchdown game against the Raiders. Walker enters his third season with many of the characteristics common to breakout receivers. He already has made the leap in scoring and his final games point at better yardage for 2004. Favre is a master at spreading the wealth, but showed last season that he has learned where the best place to throw is. At worst, Walker makes a suitable #2 fantasy receiver this season and his upside is great given his age and progress. Look for the former first rounder with speed and height to rise to the next level.
Troy Walters IND HT 5'7'' WT 173 AGE 28 EXP 5
2000 MIN 12 1 5 5 0 1 3 0
2002 IND 16 18 207 11.5 0 2 33 0
2003 IND 12 36 456 12.7 3 1 6 0
  Avg 12 36 456 12.7 3 1 6 0

Walters plays an adequate #3 receiver in the Colts offense but does not have the same ability as Brandon Stokley to really impact a game. Walters should only be considered as viable in the deepest of leagues since he is not likely to do better than the #4 wide receiver for the Colts. It is a high scoring offense, but there are only so many passes to distribute and his stock fell against what Brandon Stokley accomplished at the end of last season and in the playoffs. When Harrison finally missed a game last year, Walters took his place and promptly injured his hamstring anyway. He later had a broken nose and lastly missed some time due to a serious illness with his son. At 5’7”, Walters is too small for anything more than multiple receiver sets that net him a couple of passes a game at most.

08/22/04 - Walters broke his arm and is likely lost for the season and definitely lost from the rankings.

Hines Ward PIT HT 6'0'' WT 200 AGE 28 EXP 7
2001 PIT 16 94 1003 10.7 4 10 83 0
2002 PIT 16 112 1329 11.9 12 12 142 0
2003 PIT 16 95 1163 12.2 10 11 61 0
  Avg 16 100 1165 11.6 9 11 95 0
Ward is a rare exception to the rule – an ex-quarterback that has developed into a consistent play-maker at flanker who has been top ten in fantasy leagues for the past two seasons. He has exceeded 1000 yards in each of the past three years and averaged 100 catches in that time. Only four wideouts had more passes thrown to them and only three had more catches in 2003. That’s keeping company with Torry Holt and Randy Moss in importance to a team and Ward had at least five catches in ten games last year including one 13 catch, 149 yard effort against the Bengals in week 13. Ward only had three 100+ yard games, but his biggest value is very rarely ever having a bad game. His value to the Steelers has led OC Ken Whisenhunt to designing players this season which will move him to the slot, the backfield or in motion to minimize his double teams. Ward is very consistent and while he does not provide the big flash from lots of 100 yard efforts (he had four in 2002), he nears the head of the class as a consistent fantasy performer.
Peter Warrick CIN HT 5'11'' WT 195 AGE 27 EXP 5
2001 CIN 16 70 667 9.5 1 8 14 0
2002 CIN 15 53 606 11.4 6 8 22 0
2003 CIN 15 80 833 10.4 7 17 143 0
  Avg 15 68 702 10.4 5 11 60 0
Warrick already had a career best season in 2003 and that was before needing arthroscopic surgery on his knee. He missed week 16 but returned for the critical week 17 even though he was no healed yet. That heroism probably pushed his rehab back and he expects to be completely healed for the July 30 th opening for training camp. Warrick will need to contend with the emerging Kelly Washington this season, and along with Patrick Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh there will likely be less throws to him this year. Throw in a first-time quarterback facing a daunting schedule and chances are best that Warrick cannot replicate the numbers from last season. With the risk involved, Warrick drops from being a fine #2 fantasy receiver to a #3 receiver with some upside. Warrick was unable to practice fully in mini-camps as he healed from the cartilage tear in his knee but still maintains he will be healthy this August.
Kelley Washington CIN HT 6'3'' WT 220 AGE 25 EXP 2
2003 CIN 15 22 299 13.6 4 1 5 0
  Avg 15 22 299 13.6 4 1 5 0
This third-round draft pick has been the buzz of mini-camps this year. Washington scored four touchdowns in his first season and had 22 catches. This spring he has shown the development to step up his game. Already of great size and speed, Washington is making the jump from “thinking about it” to just playing instinctually and has received praise from the coaching staff for playing much “quicker” and displaying impressive catches and route running. The Bengals have a full complement of receivers this season with Chad Johnson, Peter Warrick, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Patrick Johnson, and realistically Palmer still presents an unknown regardless of his lofty pedigree as the #1 overall pick in 2003. This will keep Washington from realizing a breakout season but still gives him the opportunity to improve upon an encouraging rookie season.
Darius Watts DEN HT 6' 1" WT 188 AGE 22 EXP R
ROOKIE DEN 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0

Watts was the ninth receiver taken last season at the 2.22 pick by the Broncos. “Spider” Watts comes out as a senior after playing 47 games for Marshall where he ended with 272 catches for 4031 yards and 47 touchdowns. In three and a half seasons. That’s the 2 nd best scoring in NCAA Division 1-A history. Watts is a player that has historically displayed great “football instincts” as a receiver. He can hit second gear well and displays good awareness of how to work a secondary to his advantage. Minor knocks on not having the size to beat a jam and not doing as much in traffic led to his drop in the draft. The Broncos almost traded up to get Michael Clayton but Tampa bay wanted too much so they settled for what they considered only a minor drop-off to Watts. What the Broncos liked the most was his open-field ability to pick up yards after the catch and after seeing him in mini-camp, they already feel he is the “steal of the draft”. With the loss of receivers in Denver, Watts will get his chance earlier than most and given his experience and past production, he could well end up bigger than most of those eight receivers taken before him.

Update 8/12/04: It was obvious that the Broncos were trying to see what they had in Watts during the HOF game and the results were largely positive. The reality is that Ashley Lelie and Rod Smith still take the starts, but so far Watts has been impressive in his short time. If he continues, he will likely rise higher.

Reggie Wayne IND HT 6'0'' WT 198 AGE 26 EXP 4
2001 IND 11 27 345 12.8 0      
2002 IND 15 49 716 14.6 4      
2003 IND 16 68 838 12.3 7      
  Avg 14 48 633 13.2 4      
Wayne entered his third season in 2003 looking for a breakout performance and while he had a career-best effort, it fell short of what that offense could produce. He had only two 100 yards games (oddly both 141 yards) and scored seven times in five games. He tailed off sharply after his second big game in week 11 and never again managed more than 57 yards in the remaining six games. Had he kept his pace through week 11, he could have ended over 1000 yards. The oddity with him as well was that all seven touchdowns that he scored came in home games. He had almost twice the yardage (558 vs. 280) when at home. Wayne needs to use 2004 as the year he can board the home-bound plane and talk about the endzone trips. He took a step up last season and now has to spread his production out to road in order to justify his high draft selection and the faith the Colts have placed in him.
Cedrick Wilson SF HT 5'10'' WT 179 AGE 26 EXP 4
2003 SF 15 35 396 11.3 2 1 -4 0
  Avg 15 35 396 11.3 2 1 -4 0
Wilson played as the #3 receiver last year and had catches in all but two games. He ended with only 396 yards and two scores but impressed the coaches enough to be penciled in as the 2003 starter until Curtis Conway signed at the end of May. Cedrick was a special teams standout last year and was the NFL player-of-the-week for his 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Rams in week nine last year. Wilson will now compete with the rookie Rashaun Woods for the #3 spot but given the age of Conway (33), he could need replacing at some point. The 49ers passing attack is suddenly in infancy now after two decades of prominence. Lower your expectations for all the receivers and even more so for Wilson.
Reggie Williams JAX HT 6' 3" WT 223 AGE 20 EXP R
ROOKIE JAX 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0

Williams heads to a situation that needs him to step up at some point and fill the shoes of Jimmy Smith who turns 35 this season. Of the top three rookie receivers, Reggie actually has the better situation and a better passer in Byron Leftwich. Williams comes out after his junior year at Washington and had 89 catches for 1109 yards and eight scores last season with a shaky quarterback situation. At 6’3” and 228 pounds, he has plenty of size to make the tough catches and catch the ball in traffic. The Jaguars tried to find a complement for Smith all last season and traded away Kevin Johnson which clears the path for Williams to make a contribution this season. Williams has already impressed the coaches with his ability to catch the ball and run routes and even though he is only a rookie coming out early, he has already been given the #2 spot across from Jimmy Smith. Reggie is a tremendous talent with great opportunity this season and was taken as the next great Jaguar receiver that can spend many future seasons as Leftwich’s primary target. His biggest downside this season is that his agents are the Poston brothers and a holdout appears likely – getting him into camp late and increasing his learning curve into the season.

Update 8/12/04: Williams slides down after training camp reports still have Troy Edwards as the #2 and Williams not challenging him. It is still very early and there is zero chance that Williams does not eventually pass him by, but it may take into the season to happen. Williams still deserves a flyer pick as a WR5 just given his potential.

Roy Williams DET HT 6' 2" WT 212 AGE 22 EXP R
ROOKIE DET 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Roy is perhaps the most complete and accomplished receiver coming out this season. Williams passed up the NFL draft last season to complete his senior season at Texas. At 6’2” and 212 pounds, Williams has the speed (4.4) for the long ball but also has the size to excel as a possession receiver. He is noted for his ability to catch the ball in traffic. Williams goes to a team that has a great receiver already in Charles Rogers but Williams offers both possession ability and big play talents. He is a big, natural receiver with willingness to always improve and work hard. Williams is a natural fit into the ball control west coast offense and with Rogers could form one of the more productive receiving duos in the league for years to come. His gifted ability to catch the ball ensures that he will have at least yards and catches this season and his leaping ability has proven to be effective in the endzone.
Rashaan Woods SF HT 6' 2" WT 202 AGE 23 EXP R
ROOKIE SF 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Since the 49ers literally cleared the table of 2003 offensive starters, Woods finds himself with a good opportunity on a team that seems likely to want to throw. The general rebuilding theme in San Francisco could limit what Woods could do this season but with no stars on the roster, Woods has a good opportunity to shine. He was taken with the 31 st overall pick in the 2003 draft and has more pedigree and talent than any other receiver. Rashaun is a very natural, gifted receiver but fell some in the draft due to lack of a top end speed but was always productive at Oklahoma State. He is very polished and a complete receiver. Deep in fantasy drafts he is worth a shot and given the lack of apparent talent in the 49er receiving corps now, he is definitely worth grabbing in a dynasty league for the future. As a final thumbing of the nose at Terrell Owens, the first rookie receiver jersey was given to Woods - #81.